There’s no doubt that the annual Burston rally, held on the first Sunday of September in the village of Burston, Norfolk is one of the favourite events of the trade union calendar.
The Burston Strike School rally, to give it its full title, celebrates the longest strike in British history, lasting from 1914 to 1939.
When teachers Annie and Tom Higdon were sacked for their trade union activities from the village Church of England school, pupil Violet Potter led the walk out and in solidarity, the children refused to go to school if the Higdons were not there.
The Higdons went on to establish an alternative school – the Burston Strike School – with 66 of the 72 former pupils attended. The school continued until short after Tom’s death in 1939 and was funded by donations from the Labour and trade union movement.
The rally first started in 1984 – and is sadly skipping September 6, 2020 because of the coronavirus.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to cancel this year’s rally for the first time in its 36-year history, but under the current circumstances it would be unwise to go ahead, said Unite regional officer and event organiser Miles Hubbard.
“However,” he continued, “we are confident that the rally will return, just as vibrant and its messages of solidarity just as strong, in 2021.”
So in the meantime local photographer Peter Smith has selected his favourite photos from 2010 – 2019 and our very own videographer Martin Scanlon has kindly collected them together for everyone to enjoy.
Put your feet up and live – or even relive – the Burston rally experience – back (hopefully) next year.
Words by Amanda Campbell; Photos by Peter Smith; Video ensemble by Martin Scanlon